Exploring the Big Questions in Amsterdam

Wednesday November 25, 2015

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As well as the vibrant blend of contemporary culture and art, Amsterdam’s cosmopolitan atmosphere was also once home to a thriving Jewish community, making it a great option for Religious Studies exploration.

Take a trip to the Jewish Historical Museum

The Joods Historisch Museum is the only museum in the Netherlands dedicated to Jewish history. Part of the Jewish Cultural Quarter, the museum is located in a group of four historical Ashkenazi synagogues at the heart of Amsterdam.

It features permanent exhibitions looking at the role of religion and tradition, the links with Israel, the persecution of Jews during the Second World War, personal life stories and the mutual influence of Jewish and Dutch culture. Students are introduced to different aspects of Jewish tradition through interactive presentations, including matzo baking and learning to write Hebrew letters.

Portuguese Synagogue

During the Dutch Golden Age, the Amsterdam Sephardic community was one of the largest and richest Jewish communities in Europe and this was reflected through this very large synagogue. A popular tourist attraction as one of the biggest buildings in Amsterdam, the beautiful Portuguese Synagogue is one of the most important legacies of the vibrant Jewish community in Amsterdam.

Corrie ten Boom Museum

The Ten Boom Museum is a museum dedicated to The Hiding Place, the subject of a book by Corrie ten Boom.

The Ten Boom family were devout Christians who ran a watch shop on the main shopping street of Haarlem, the Netherlands. During the Nazi occupation of Haarlem starting in 1942, they opened their home to those hunted by the Nazis providing safe harbour in a hiding place they built upstairs.

After her family were betrayed in 1944, Corrie ten Boom was the only family member to survive and returned to Haarlem and the watch shop in 1983 on her 91st birthday. She wrote several books about her experiences, and the museum opened on her birthday in 1988. The exhibition will take your students back in time, delivering a poignant story of hope and resistance. Visitors can see first-hand the ‘hiding place’ behind a false wall, where four Jews and two Dutch resistance fighters hid from the Gestapo. 

How to get there

Good public transport makes travelling easy around this compact city so students are able to see many sites in a short amount of time. All of these attractions can be easily accessed by public transport: Metro 51, 53 and 54: stop Waterlooplein, tram 9 and 14: stop Waterlooplein.


WST is a school travel company that is passionate about enhancing students learning through experience. For more information about booking your Religious Studies trip please contact our specialist team.

Whether it be a place of religious worship or a historical site location, religious studies trips will help students to learn more about the important role religion has played in society. At WST many of our Religious Studies themes and destinations overlap with our History trips and for many schools it makes sense to combine the two when planning trips.

We offer Religious Studies Tours to: